ESPYs 2014: Most Deserving Award Winners and Biggest Snubs from Results

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2014

Chris Davis accepts the award for best play at the ESPY Awards at the Nokia Theatre on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
John Shearer/Associated Press

On the most boring sports day on the American calendar, ESPN graciously gave us the ESPY Awards, honoring the best athletes, teams and achievements of the past year on Wednesday night.

While Drake was no Norm MacDonald as a host, the program was once again an entertaining spectacle.

But which award winners were the most deserving? Which were the biggest snubs? Let's break it down.


Most Deserving Winners

Best Team: Seattle Seahawks

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16:  (L-R) NFL players Golden Tate, Malcolm Smith, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman and teammates from the Seattle Seahawks accept the Best Team award onstage during the 2014 ESPYS at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 16, 2014 in Los A
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

No team was more dominant than the Seattle Seahawks this past season. The team finished 13-3 in the regular season, defeated its hated rivals in the San Francisco 49ers to reach the Super Bowl and absolutely demolished one of the best offenses in NFL history when it crushed the Denver Broncos.

The team's defense was historically good, ranking first in points allowed, receiving yards allowed and total yards allowed per game.

It was also incredibly buzz-worthy, as the secondary was dubbed the Legion of Boom and led by brash cornerback Richard Sherman and dynamic free safety Earl Thomas.

There were other excellent teams in American sports this past year, but none were as consistently dominant and entertaining as the Seahawks.


Best Play: Chris Davis, Auburn University

To win the Iron Bowl is special. To win it with a berth to the SEC Championship Game at stake is huge. To win it on the final play of the game is memorable. But to do all of the above, and for the defining moment to be a missed field goal returned 109 yards for the win?

Well, that's just legendary, and it's incredibly deserving of the distinction as the year's top play.

At the ESPYs, Chris Davis—the man who scored the touchdown—and Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn discussed the play after taking home the award, per Joel A. Erickson of

"I just want to start out by thanking the man above for making all this possible," Davis said in his acceptance speech. "I wish they had 10 more of these to give to my teammates on the field with me at that time. Without them, I wouldn't be standing here today."

Davis' dash will forever be the lasting image from that game, a brilliant, back-and-forth affair in one of college football's best rivalries.

"It was a great game, the fact that we were playing our rival, also to go to the SEC Championship Game made it that much sweeter," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said on stage at the ESPY's. "On behalf of the guys back home, our coaches and our players, which just did a great job this year getting our program turned around where it should be."

And all at the expense of Alabama. Auburn has never been prouder.


Biggest Snubs

Best Male Athlete: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16:  NBA player Kevin Durant (R) accepts the Best Male Athlete Award onstage with NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and actor Taye Diggs during the 2014 ESPYS at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Phot
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

With all due respect to the incredible and classy Kevin Durant, this award should have gone to Peyton Manning. All Manning did was last year was set NFL records for most passing touchdowns (55) and passing yards (5,477) in a season.

What NBA records did Durant break?

It goes deeper. You could make a very strong argument suggesting that Manning just had the greatest regular season in NFL history.

Is anyone making the case that Durant just had the best NBA regular season in history?

No, I don't think so. 

Stats aren't everything, though. Manning also led his team to the Super Bowl. Durant and the Thunder failed to reach the NBA Finals. 

Don't get me wrong—Durant had a special year. Andrew Davis of ESPN Stats & Information broke down just how special it was before the ESPY Awards:

Durant was the first player since Shaquille O’Neal in 1999-2000 to lead the NBA in points per game (32.0), player efficiency rating (29.9) and win shares (19.2). Durant also made history this season by becoming the fourth player to average at least 32 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, joining Hall of Fame players Michael JordanWilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor

But ask yourselves this: Will we remember Durant's season years from now as one of the truly special campaigns in NBA history?

We'll never forget the year Manning just had.


Best Championship Performance: Kawhi Leonard, NBA Finals MVP

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Folks may suspect an anti-NBA bias in this article, but that isn't the case. The truth is the World Series David Ortiz had was simply more impressive than Kawhi Leonard's NBA Finals performance.

David Ortiz hit .688 (11-for-16) and had a .760 on-base percentage, smacking two home runs and six RBI while leading the Boston Red Sox to the title. He tied an MLB record by reaching base nine straight times in the Fall Classic. That's absolutely insane.

While Reggie Jackson's 1977 World Series remains arguably the top October performance of all timehe hit .450 with five home runs, eight RBI and 10 runs in six gamesOrtiz's 2013 showing can justifiably be thrown in the mix for the second-best Fall Classic showing in baseball history.

Leonard was excellent in the NBA Finals, no doubt. Not only did he play excellent defense against LeBron James, he also led the San Antonio Spurs in scoring in the last three games of the playoffs and posted a double-double in the last two.

He was also absurdly efficient, making 61.2 percent of his shots in the series.

It was a fantastic performance. It just wasn't historically amazing. Ortiz, on the other hand, had a World Series for the ages.


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